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2009 NRM SIRES' STAKES 3YO FINAL
Cup Day's NRM Sires' Stakes Final featured three sons of Mach Three, and in the end it was the least-favoured of the trio that tore away with victory in the $200,000 Group 1 thriller.
Most eyes were firmly fixed on hot favourite Kotare Mach who sped out and led easily early, but there were worrying signs coming into the straight the first time when Mark Purdon was leaning back in the sulky, trying gamely to restrain the over-racing colt. A lap later the exertion took its toll, and Kotare Mach started to falter around the home bend just as his rivals were throwing themselves into the fight. Bursting on the scene down centre track was Sir Lincoln, and he ran away to win the star-studded event by three and a half lengths.
"He's a bloody champion," said trainer Ray Green afterwards. "This is the best horse I've ever trained. He's got a beautiful action, and a huge motor - he's the real deal, this horse. And he hasn't just won today, he has been clearly superior to them. He has surprised me even, I knew he was good, but..."
Anyone whose spent a bit of time around Green will know that he is not one to talk up his horses. No, the likeable Huapai horseman is happy just to go about his business taking the good with the bad. So when he starts making the sort of statements he has about Sir Lincoln, it is clearly evident that this is a pretty serious animal we are talking about.
And you couldn't take anything away from the colt's performance on Tuesday...he started from the outside of the second row; got stirred up by the false start and according to driver Maurice McKendry "pulled hard most of the way"; hardly saw what the marker line looked like during his first trip to Addington, yet ran away and hid near the finish - all in a mile rate close to 1.55.
"You can see why I have got a bit of confidence when talking about him," says the 64-year-old. "I wasn't holding my breath that he would win today, though. Everyone was saying that Kotare Mach would lead and just run away with it, so I was almost resigned to the fact that we were just down here for the ride. But you never really know what you are up against. And it is like everyone else out there today - they didn't know what we were like either. I knew if he had to work, he would do the business."
The first hurdle for Sir Lincoln to overcome was his horror draw, something which Green took on the chin. "We always draw the outside of the second line - it seems to be a North Island thing," he said with a smile. "I remember one time we brought two horses down here, and they drew the outside of both lines."
Raced by John Street's and Graeme Blackburn's company Lincoln Farms Ltd, Sir Lincoln is a bit different to the norm because he was bred by the partners, not bought at the Sales. And Green says the colt showed something virtually from 'Day One', adding it was "pretty obvious early on that he stood out amongst the ones being broken in."
Sir Lincoln has returned home now for a week off while the next plan of attack is decided upon. "We will be chasing every feature race there is," Green said, adding that he would like to win the Victorian Derby with him. "This horse has got the potential to be a sire, so you have got to win those sort of races to enhance that."
There is one aspect which Sir Licoln's trip south will improve him in too, and that is being away from home. "He was born on the farm, and had never spent a night off the place in his life before coming down here. We are at Ken Barron's, which is always a great place to stay, and he was a wee bit unsettled to begin with; he has got several mates at home, and was probably missing them. So Ken loaned me a little Courage Under Fire 3-year-old (Cruz Control, known as 'Sparky' around the stable) - we packed him up alongside Sir Lincoln and he was fine after that."
Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 12Nov09